Introducing: Instagram Video

As we say farewell to IGTV, we explore what the future of video looks like on Instagram, and how you can adapt.

Goodbye IGTV, Hello Instagram Video

Earlier this month Facebook announced that Instagram TV, or ‘IGTV’ for short, is being scrapped in favour of a more cohesive video feature called Instagram Video. More than just a re-brand, Instagram Video combines all the app’s main video types (except Reels, which has its own button). The first 60 seconds of a video will display in the feed as usual, but then it will seamlessly enter the Instagram Video UI. There’s also now a dedicated ‘Videos’ tab on profile pages:

It’s easier than ever to upload videos. Instagram is also adding new features such as trimming, filters and tagging.

IGTV was always a clunky, unintuitive mess. Only 7 million people downloaded the standalone app, out of 1 billion users.

7 million. Since 2018. For comparison, TikTok has had 3 billion installs in the same amount of time.

Even after IGTV was incorporated into the main app, Instagram removed its button from the home page after a laughably short while. A sure sign of poor usage.

In one of our recent blog pieces, we revealed that Instagram no longer considers itself a ‘photo-sharing app’. The platform has been leaning heavily into video over the past couple of years, mostly to combat the rise of TikTok. Both compete for the same, younger demographic. Smartphone natives who prefer vertical, short-form video over text and static images.

With the introduction of Instagram Video, it seems Instagram is going after YouTube instead. Social media platforms haven’t challenged Google’s video powerhouse. Despite many attempts by the likes of Facebook, users continue to flock to YouTube to consume long-form content.

The question is: will people watch longer videos on Instagram? Whilst we’re all aware of the increasing popularity of short-form vertical, long-form vertical has yet to reach the same heights. We still rotate our devices and watch videos in landscape mode. An unspoken content creation rule exists: if it’s under a minute, go vertical. If it’s more, choose landscape. Instagram Video hopes to bridge the gap between the two.

What Does This Mean for Digital Marketers?

Unless you were an avid user of IGTV, this can only be good news for marketers. For the longest time we’ve had to squeeze content into 60 seconds to fit on the feed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – short videos almost always perform better on social media. But now we’re no longer confined to 60 seconds. With Instagram Video we now have the flexibility to post a video that’s 2, 5 or even 10 minutes long. This opens up new opportunities to use content types not typically seen on Instagram, such as interviews and tutorials.

This isn’t, however, an opportunity to dump all of your YouTube content onto IG Video. It may be quickly becoming a video-focused app, but users have certain expectations on the content they should see upon opening it. Keep your feed diverse with a mixture of images, videos and Reels. Aim for a lower video runtime by keeping your content concise and punchy. Finally, don’t neglect your captions and hashtags, which play an important role in drawing in viewers and enhancing discovery.